Singapore to host cruises to nowhere from November
By Chen Lin
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore launches cruises to nowhere from November as the travel hub seeks to fuel a tourism industry ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International will operate the pilot cruises, which have no ports of call and operate with strict health protocols at half capacity, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said Thursday.
The cruises, which have been classified as "Round Trips" by the STB, are only open to people who live in Singapore and sail in waters off the city-state.
The global cruise industry has made a huge impact on the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the earliest major outbreaks on cruise lines.
Singapore's plan stems from travelers in Asia getting tickets for "flights to nowhere" that take off and land at the same airport.
"This cruise pilot is a valuable opportunity for cruise companies to reinvent the entire cruise experience in order to regain passenger confidence," said Keith Tan, CEO of STB.
In the face of the deepest recession this year, the Southeast Asian island has gradually eased its coronavirus curbs to boost its economy.
For the cruises, guests must complete mandatory COVID-19 tests before boarding and must not have close contact with anyone else on the ship.
Globally, some cruise lines are gradually resuming operations, but the industry is far from reaching pre-COVID-19 capacity.
Royal Caribbean International said its three-day sail from Singapore to nowhere had a base price of S $ 374 ($ 257).
The ship Quantum of the Seas has a glass observation capsule at a height of 91 meters above sea level, a trapezoidal school, cocktails served by robots. Previously, skydiving, surfing, bumper cars, roller skating and games were offered.
(Adaptation by Martin Petty)
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